Supporting the return to football following long-term concussion: recommendations for practice

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


Purpose: Despite the increased attention afforded to concussion within sport, there are opportunities to develop further understanding and practice of the psychological symptoms that affect concussion rehabilitation. In this case, we report on a sport psychology consultancy with a 22-year-old dual-career female footballer to support their recovery from a sport-related concussion. The talk will also include the reflections of the practitioner involved, and considerations for practitioners supporting clients dealing with long-term concussions.

Background: The client’s initial presentation was being unable to head the football five months post-concussion event, and her primary goal was to return to playing competitive football. This phase of the professional relationship lasted four months. During this time the client and practitioner worked collaboratively to encourage the client to take ownership of her return in a self-compassionate manner.

Methods: A person-centred, pluralistic approach (Cooper & McLeod, 2007) to practice was adopted. This included collaboratively designing a graded exposure protocol (Wolitzky-Taylor et al., 2008) to enable the client to overcome her fear of heading the ball. Details of this process and the practitioner’s reflections on these interventions are included.

Conclusions: Sport psychology practitioners have a role to play in supporting concussion recovery in the future. They may do this by adopting a pluralistic, collaborative approach which has documented benefits. However, practitioners must be cautious and demonstrate levels of patience, curiosity, and creativity to maximise the impact of this approach.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 28 Nov 2023
EventBPS DSEP Conference - Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Duration: 28 Nov 202329 Nov 2023


ConferenceBPS DSEP Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom

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